A contested legacy: The Kennedy Committee revisited

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Abstract

The Kennedy Committee Report on Ireland's reformatory and industrial schools, published in 1970, is an important, though contested, milestone in the history of Ireland's childcare policy. The Committee found its genesis in Church/state conflict and conducted much of its work in the teeth of state and religious opposition. Its published report was watered down on the understanding that the state would act to curb the worst excesses of the system without the need for some of the more damaging discoveries reaching the public realm. Notwithstanding this the published report became the focus of political manoeuvring that stifled its potential effectiveness. Its legacy, therefore, is mixed, marking the beginning of the slow painful modernisation of the Irish childcare system whilst being an opportunity lost in terms of its potential to ameliorate the suffering of children detained in the system for a further three decades. © 2014 Taylor & Francis.

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Keating, A. (2014). A contested legacy: The Kennedy Committee revisited. Irish Studies Review, 22(3), 304–320. https://doi.org/10.1080/09670882.2014.929206

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